Saturday, July 04, 2015

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” are the words that stand out to me from the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776. Such a short phrase, yet it means so much to so many people in this country. That is the reason we fight for what we believe in, whether a conservative or liberal cause, we fight.

But what are we fighting for? Boil it down to the simplest of definitions, we fight for a better tomorrow. This is part of the struggle we all face, but some more than others.

The Colonialists fought and struggled through a war of Independence against the British Crown to forge a new country.

The Liberals fought to free people of color from the bondage of slavery, which divided this country. The US divided, fought – the side of Liberty won.

The struggle for Civil Rights was a many decades fight. People were beaten, tortured, and killed for trying to get the rights to vote, to sit at the front of a bus, to sit at a lunch counter – to be a HUMAN BEING, and not a second class citizen. But this struggle continues as the barriers just take up different forms by way of different kinds of hate.

The struggle for Women’s Rights has also been a long battle. They’ve only had the right to vote for less than 100 years, and they couldn’t sign contracts or buy houses without having a spouse up until the 1970’s. They are the only class of people who have laws passed to regulate what they can and cannot do with their bodies. Misogyny does not bring Happiness.

Our LGBT brothers and sisters have fought a long battle, too. First they fought for acceptance and escaping the confines of their proverbial closet. They fought and won the fight to marry the ones they love. Our Transgender brothers and sisters still have some battles ahead, but they too shall prevail.

In the end, it’s always a struggle, no matter your skin color, gender, sexual orientation, nationality… We fight the battles, lose some, win others, but the winners are always on the right side of history. The Colonialists won, African-Americans won (but it’s still an uphill climb, but can claim many victories), Women are still battling misogyny at many turns but are winning, and LGBT are finally getting a victory lap they deserve. Our country isn’t perfect, but in each of us, we all strive for “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

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